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Heritage Documentation Programs records: Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering photographs (HABS) (HAER)

Identifier: PH 314

Scope and Contents note

The HABS and HAER collections represent national efforts to document monuments in American construction and engineering. Each file includes photographs, and may also include architectural drawings or more substantive textual information, such as a narrative about the site, or an index of the photographs.

Of particular interest are entries related to the United State's Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Radar Network. The project is unique among most HAER entries as the project spans across multiple states including California, Idaho, Maine, and Oregon. Each entry in the Over-the-Horizon Backscatter Radar Network details a specific radar transmission site and the various buildings that support it. A more detailed summary of the project can be found in the folder for HAER ME-98.

Entries within the HABS and HAER collections are indicated by a HABS or HAER number (e.g. OR-100).


  • 1978-2014


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical/Historical note

The Heritage Documentation Programs is a division of the United States National Park Service and administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Records (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). Each program is tasked with documenting historic sites and landmarks in the United States through the use of photographs, measured drawings, and written narratives to provide public record of each place.

The Historic American Buildings Survey grew out of the Depression and the Works Progress Administration. HABS was founded in 1933 by the National Park Service to provide jobs for architects, draftsmen and photographers. Charles E. Peterson, a Park Service landscape architect, developed the proposal. In addition to providing employment, HABS established a method by which detailed primary source documentation of structures representing America's rich architectural heritage could be gathered. The following year the Park Service entered a partnership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to provide professional counsel, and with the Library of Congress to preserve and provide public service for the records.

In 1969, the model was adapted to establish the Historic American Engineering Records to document significant engineering and industrial sites. The Park Service and Library of Congress partnered with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and additional support later came from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). A new program, the Historic American Landscapes Survey, is under development to record historic landscapes in the United States and its territories.



22.5 linear feet (27 containers)

Language of Materials



The Heritage Documentation Programs records: Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering photograph collection contains materials that document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States, and includes photographs, project narratives, and architectural drawings.

Arrangement note

The collection is comprised of two series: Series I, Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS); and Series II: Historic American Engineering Records (HAER). Within these series, projects are arranged alphabetically by state, and then county.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The collection is deposited by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Related Archival Materials note

The University of Oregon is primarily a repository for Oregon materials, though a smattering of other states are represented in the materials (e.g. California, Idaho, and Maine). A complete set is held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Much has been digitized and is available through the LC database,

General Physical Description note

21 manuscript boxes, 6 tubes

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Normandy S. Helmer and Megan Dazey, October 2004. Additional processing completed by Thomas Beech, 2015.

Guide to the Heritage Documentation Programs records: Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering photographs
Revise Description
Finding aid prepared by Normandy Helmer. Updated by Thomas Beech and Rachel Lilley.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA